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First Murder (L to R) Imani Lewis as Calliope Burns, Sarah Catherine Hook as Juliette Fairmont … [+] in episode 104 of First Kill. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

First Kill fans are still confused as to why their show died in the top 10 on Netflix despite being in the top 100 million watch hours, better than many other shows being renewed. But in this age of streaming and binge watching and “retention,” there are many more metrics to consider. And those are the ones that could have killed First Kill, in particular.

A new report from Deadline says that while First Kill’s overall viewing hours were strong, the show struggled with internal metrics that Netflix places high value on, which are rarely made public. In this case, First Kill did not meet the thresholds provided by Netflix to watch and complete episodes. Like here, a lot of people left the series as it progressed, meaning there might not be a huge audience for Season 2, even if initial interest was high.

Showrunner Felicia D. Henderson said Netflix told her the completion rate wasn’t high enough, the main reason for the cancellation:

“When I got the call that they weren’t going to renew the show because the completion rate wasn’t high enough, of course I was very disappointed,” Henderson said. “What showrunner wouldn’t be? They told me a couple of weeks ago that they expected the finish to go up. I think it wasn’t.”

I’m very reminded of the scene above in the last season of Barry, where Barry’s girlfriend Sally lands her dream project, a show that debuts to high critical scores and is featured on the front page of a streaming service. But by the time he finishes an interview with an executive, it’s already been canceled because the “algorithm” didn’t think enough people were watching.

Although it doesn’t work exactly that way, we live in a very precise age of metrics. Humans might have some choice in terms of whether a show is getting the craziest reviews or has a particularly strong fan base, but for bubble shows like First Kill, it comes down to specific tracking metrics like not enough people finishing the series, viewership scores. be damned

The showrunner, in additional comments, also accuses Netflix’s marketing of focusing too much on the vampire/lesbian hunter dynamic and not enough on other elements of the show, but I’m not sure that would be the deciding factor here. Working against First Kill was that it also wasn’t… very good overall. I mean, that’s a matter of opinion, of course, but a lot of critics seemed to feel that way. That said, low critical scores have never stopped Netflix from innovating things, especially with high audience numbers, but here, it’s that hidden metric, series completion, that did First Kill. Hollywood is a ruthless business, always has been, always will be. .

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Take my science fiction novels The Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.

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